Target apologizes after Starbucks barista wrote 'ISIS' on Muslim customer's coffee cup

The alleged incident took place on the evening of July 1.
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The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) is calling for action after a Muslim woman's coffee order was returned with "ISIS" written on the cup. 

The alleged incident happened July 1 at the Starbucks located inside the St. Paul-Midway Target, with the female customer, only identified as 19-year-old Aishah (pronounced Eye-E-Sha), reporting that the employee began writing something on the cup before she finished giving her name. In a news release, CAIR-MN says the employee "hid the cup from view." 

Upon receiving her order, the Muslim woman's name wasn't on the plastic cup, but "ISIS" had been written on it. ISIS is the acronym for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, a militant group identified by the United Nations as a terrorist organization. 

"I could not believe that in a day and age like this people could still do hurtful things. I felt humiliated, I felted enraged, I felt belittled," Aishah said in a press release from CAIR-MN.

"After noticing the writing on the cup, she asked the employee why 'ISIS' was written on the cup," the release added. Later, a supervisor told the Muslim customer that 'mistakes' sometimes happen with customers' names.

"Not a hard to pronounce name," Jaylani Hussein, executive director of CAIR-MN, said of Ayesha. "It is a well recognized name in the United States." Aishah said the barista asked for her name, but not how to spell it. 

Starbucks stores located inside grocery stores and stores like Target are licensed, meaning Starbucks gives Target the ability to have a Starbucks, though Target owns it, hires staff and operates it. 

Target apologizes, issues statement

A Target spokesperson issued the following statement to Bring Me The News, saying it wasn't a "deliberate act but an unfortunate mistake." 

"At Target, we want everyone who shops with us to feel welcomed, valued and respected and we strictly prohibit discrimination and harassment in any form. We are very sorry for this guest’s experience at our store and immediately apologized to her when she made our store leaders aware of the situation. 

"We have investigated the matter and believe that it was not a deliberate act but an unfortunate mistake that could have been avoided with a simple clarification. We’re taking appropriate actions with the team member, including additional training, to ensure this does not occur again."

The Target spokesperson noted the employee was a minor and very upset about the mistake. It is unclear how much knowledge the employee has about ISIS being a known terrorist organization. 

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